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Obama names picks to head Census, NOAA

revolving door

President Obama on May 23 announced nominations for the heads of two of the more data-intensive agencies in the federal government, the Commerce Department's Census Bureau and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Dr. John H. Thompson, Obama's pick to lead the Census, is a longtime veteran of the bureau going back to 1975. He has held various senior posts, including associate director for the decennial census and chief of the decennial management division. Currently, Thompson is president and CEO of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The bureau is under pressure to lower the cost of its next decennial count of the American population, which cost $14 billion in 2010.

Environmental scientist Dr. Mark Schaefer, meanwhile, has been nominated to lead NOAA. His prior government service includes a stint in the Interior Department and in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House, both under President Clinton. Schaefer currently works as deputy executive director for environmental conflict resolution at the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM

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